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June 2024

Letter from the Committee


Rest


Summer is here! Rising temperatures prompt change in our routines through school breaks, summer vacations, seasonal sports or events, and more. To kick off the summer, the recent Stoa NITOC was a week packed with competition and fellowship, bolstered by record breaking alumni participation and service. In the wake of such an intensive, was there a welcome slowdown? After the last big milestone you reached at work, did you find that breath of fresh air and rejuvenation? No matter what next peak or hurdle we conquer, there will surely be another one behind it. Do you also find that margins following achievement are shockingly swift to absorb into the “next” thing?


How do we ensure we avoid an endless cycle of reaching for the next thing and enter God’s restorative rest?


Every single day, we are exposed to needs that demand some sort of response. Often out of love for others, we feel the pressure to give our time, attention, concern, investment, or emotion. Dealing with overwhelming need on all sides, we often underestimate our personal margins and sacrifice our rest in favor of “more beneficial” uses of our time. Yet, this is not the Biblical directive at all. We are called to rest physically and spiritually. While rest looks very different person to person, we all have limited time and energy. This is part of what it means to be finite, human beings. When we seek to live in a healthy balance between working and resting, we make room for the Lord to draw nearer and stand as our provider.


Jesus was the chief model in balancing rest with work. He was surrounded by a world desperate for healing. Crowds and mobs followed Him, chasing Him from town to town for a chance to hear His words or touch His garments. As believers, we know that His love extended to every soul in that age, and for all ages. His love was unconditional and deeper than we can ever really fathom on this side of eternity. Yet, in the midst of His ministry, He practiced times of retreat, rest, and restoration in quiet time with the Father—all without ever nullifying His practice of love for all.


Resting in our Father is a practice of submission and acknowledgement that our work is a gift out of the life He breathed into us. Our effort, our labor, is not the means by which we are able to rest. Both rest and work are gifts from the Lord, fulfillment He has uniquely designed and provided for us. Trust in His provision of good work and rest alleviates the pressure to muscle through wave after wave of busyness on our own strength. It instills a peaceful resilience as we are guided in measured steps through the ebbs and flows of life in a still broken world. Friends, just as much as we call one another toward good action, let’s encourage one another toward good rest!


Your Stoa Alumni Committee,


Samuel Durand (AR), Grayson Harris (TN), Nicole Kaiser (MT), Alyssa Sloneker (AR), Denise Sprimont-Vasquez (VA), Elizabeth Stapleton (OK), and David Vasquez (VA)



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